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Report: Slow Recovery Ahead for Mississippi Economy

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 02 Nov 2012 01:45pm | comments

Mississippi's economy appears to be on a slow path to economic recovery but is still struggling to create jobs. Data about the state's unemployment rate will be released this Friday. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports it will take 6 more years for the state to return to pre-recession employment levels.

A new economic forecast from the Institutions of Higher Learning is predicting a slow recovery for Mississippi's economy.

Unemployment in Mississippi is still above 9-percent and the start is one of just three to have employment levels at its lowest point since the state of the recession.

Senior State economist Marianne Hill says there are indications that the state's economy will grow and begin to pick up next year.

"We have a growth rate that will be increasing and peaking at 2.7% in the year 2015. Employment growth hoping will get up to 1.3% by then," Hill said.

Hill says the healthcare industry and construction will help lead employment growth.

Mississippi has the same number of jobs today as it did in 1996 and Hill says that is because while large manufacturing firms are succeeding but small business has faltered.

"What is not happening is that the smaller firms do not seem to be doing as well. I was looking at figures on bankruptcy. Our bankruptcy rate was twice as high if you look at the past 10 years. Same thing with the number of small businesses, number of people employed by small businesses. All these numbers are dropping in Mississippi but they are going up nationally," Hill said.

Hill says recession in Europe, global economic weakness, and potential federal budget cuts could all threaten growth in Mississippi.

However, if the national economy heats up it could bring Mississippi along with it.

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